My wife and i are in our mid forties. We are planning a trip to Thailand in early November this year. We will be staying in Bangkok...

...for 2 nights and a further 12 nights in one of the islands. We are undecided if we will go to Koh Samui or Koh Chang on the west coast. If we go to Koh Samui would you reccommend Chaweng beach or Thong Ta Kien beach. At night we would like to have access to good bars, restaurants and entertainment. Some of the days we will explore other islands with boat trips etc-can you reccommend what islands are best to visit and the best way to get to them. We like good quality accomodation which at the same time offers good value for money-can you reccommend good quality hotels. Thanks in anticipation Eamon from Ireland.


Country: Thailand


Hi Eamon.

Chewang is the turist part of Koh Samui, and has all the western ups and downs. Good restaurants, Supermarkets, tailors etc.
On the downside, it is quite crowded at can be a bit noisy when you step out of the resorts.
Trips from Samui that can be recomenden: Koh Phangan, known for it's fullmoon partys are also a great getaway from the mainstream turist places. If you go to the north side you will find nice secluded beaches almost on the doorstep of the hotels.
Koh Tao, is the cheapest place in the world to learn to dive, and the island more or less adapts to that. In the daytime there are a few things to do, but mainly everyone goes diving. At night Sairee Beach has a quite nice night scene, but the island mainly cateres to Young backpackers though there lately have been opened a few more luxury resorts targeted to the traveler wanting aircon, swimmingpool and laying on the beach.
The last island to go to, is the Koh Nangyan, which in fact is 3 small islands connected by a nicd and sandy beach. It is quite pricy and provides some exelent snorkeling spots.

All Islands can be reached by boat From Samui.
The boat usually goes from Koh Samui to Koh Phangan and continues to Koh Tao/Koh Nangyuan.
It is possible to do a day trip to Koh Nangyuan From samui with snorkeling included, but i would recommend taking a trip to Koh Tao and then spending a few days there and go to Koh Nangyuan by longtail boat (Less that 20 minutes from Sairee Beach).
Hi Eamon, i have been living in koh samui for over 3 years now, my recomondation for you and your wife whould be fishermans village in boh phut, this is a very nice part of samui, and has very good revues,, every thing you whould need for a good break,, trips daily to other islands, excellent restaurants bars, shopping, accomodation all within walking distance,in the village, check it out!! dont esitate with any more info ,, good luck
If you want private, I recommend Thong Ta Kien beach. It's a small and private beach and have some resorts there. About Chaweng beach, it's bigger so it's a favourite place for tourists who like nice beach, enjoy with activities, night life and there're lots of resorts too. I'll recommend some resorts that are located in the middle of Chaweng beach so you can access too good bars and restaurant easily.
- Chaweng Buri Resort().
- The Library ()
- Baan Samui Resort ()
Nice! I think someone already gave you some ideas, what Koh Samui look like. It is time for you to look for the Hotels and Transportation. There are lots of hotel promotions are doing at the moment. My advise is look into your budgets and send it to us. We will reply you shortly with the hotel informations and Prices. You may interest in Spa services and we also can recommce to you and your wife. Please visit or send email to

Look forwards to see you soon
Actually Ko Samui and Ko Chang are both east of the peninsula, which stretches down to Malaysia. This east coast and the islands on the windward side of it will get the winter rains (northwest monsoon) starting about early Nov. The rains are not too bad, however the sea can get rough and choppy at times, which may have a negative influence on your swimming and snorkeling activities.
A much better place to go at that time of the year is the west coast - Phuket, Krabi, Trang, Satun.
However if you are stuck to Samui or Chang, follow the suggestions already been given.
wow so many answers already

If your in Bangkok for a few day go to the National Museum for a guided tour. Its next to the Grand Palace it very good information on Thailand and it Budda roots. Great tour
If you like the busy days and nights..i would recommend you to go Chawend Beach but if u are the the type of person that want to spend private time, i would recommend Thong Ta Kien Beach
However, I think Koh Chang will be also nice if you wanna stay with your wife too
You can enjoy beach as well as other natural trekking and foresting
anywayKoh Saimui and Koh Chang have the nice accomms...but if you book it from , it ll b better than booking directly from the resort itself
Have a nice lovely time :)
Hello Michael and Wilfried's answers are pretty good. They are good guidelines.
Have a wonderful stay.
Hi Eamon
About Koh Samui you got "plenty" of (good) suggestions, althou' nobody mentioned it's quite expensive and dirty !!!
Friends living in Thailand wouldn't go anymore. Koh Chang
Trat Province, 2nd largest island to Thailand is a real
alternative. You fancy the "same features" as Samui, but it's merely some 300 km southeast of Bangkok, to be reached
by overland A/C coaches and more value for your money.
November is good season. Check out all information on
internet and compare your findings. Enjoy your stay ...
Well, you got much advice already. I normally ask my guest first to tell me, what they look for at a island.Some like places with a lot of other tourists, others really look for a nice beach, maybe to snorkel etc. In the last years I send my folks to Kho Chang, (although in the last years tourist encreased a lot) or more south, to Kho Kood. Clean nice beach, but not much night life or shopping, but such you can do in BKK!
Sawasdde krap Hans
I would recomend Phuket instead. More things to do and a lot of small Islands to visit. If you want more info contact me on:
Koh Chang on the "west coast" is maybe Koh Chang Ranong, but I doubt you meant that. Koh Chang Trat is a real alternative to Samui, especially in November by which time the monsoon has diminished in Chang, but strengthened in Samui.
I live in Koh Chang, in May we went to Samui, Tao and Phangam, as May is wettest in Chang. We could not wait to get back home to Koh Chang.
Have a look at the tripadvisor site for Koh Chang, for ideas.
Try Chang for something a bit different, even if it is your first time to Thiland.
In 12 days you could, at a pinch, have 5 or 6 nights on each island - can do the Chang Samui trip by road and sea in 24 hours. Or can fly Pattaya (for Chang) to Samui.
Hi Eamon,
You have alot of information on Kho Samui which is a beautiful island.There is so much to see and do in Thailand it can be a hard choice,Kho Chang is is also very beautiful and offers a more serene and laid back atmosphere than Samui.The island and it surrounding islands have alot for you to see,a great place to stay on Kho Chang is a wonderful resort on the beach called Kea Bae Resort.This resort is reasonably priced on the beach and located stratigically for easy access to everything you need.Cost wise I think Kho Chang would cost less but not quite as much to do there.
Have fun wherever you go.
Hi Eamon
Both islands are very nice, although personally I prefer Koh Chang, since it is still less developed and has more of the Thai feeling to it. Well i would since I live on it!
If you want to be in a more busy area then head for white sand beach, more quiet and very lovely are kaibae, some part of lonely beach, and very quiet and autenthical is bailan beach. All of these have basic lodging but also very good quality hotels. around koh chang you could do daytrips for snorkeling or diving, and there are some other islands with resorts, koh maak, koh kood and koh wai, island hopping for a few days is great! If you d like more info feel free to mail me back
I would definitely go to Samui,
Ko Chang is a scam, devised for tourists, Samui has a "real" island feel about it and a history.
Also, I would stay at LAMAI beach on Samui, a nice compact seaside village with bars, restaurants and nightlife, which you nees as it gets dark at around 6pm. An extremely nice place to stay is "Lamai Wanta" right on the beach and well priced for the high quality accommodation. Chaweng is drab and dusty and involves a real lot of walking when you go out. the sand is a bit nicer than Lamai, but that's all. Thong Ta Kien? don't bother, there's nothing there.
As to visiting other islands..... you can sort all that out when you get there. all travel is by boat (obviously), but don't try to cram too much in.... chilling out on one island is enough! You will slowly wind down, it actually takes around 2 weeks to slow down to the real island pace of things.... but after the first few days you will think you have done it already, and then it just keeps getting better. Jim
PS: Look at and for the rest of Thailand (including Samui) the best and cheapest way to book accommodation is on www. (other sites are all more expensive, do not believe anyone who tells you otherwise (I have lived here 10 years). Jim
november is monsoon on east coast. water is not clear and you would get a lot of rain already. go west, traveling season just open weather is nice, water is clear blue. go to krabi or phuket. i think u will have more good time than samui
I agree with Wilfried and suggest to visit Phuket or Krabi instead.

have fun,

Hello Eamon,
As i stay in Koh Chang i prefer it here. Koh Samui is a nice island but busy and to much big hotels and so on. Koh Chang has some big hotels but 70 % of the island is a national park, so it is protected, sure you can go in for jungle trekking ... so my tipp is KOH CHANG, you welcome to come to us SCANDINAVIAN CHANG DIVING CENTER and try to dive or do some snorkeling () hotels to reccommend i do have a few just need more information about the level, feel free to contact me at , we do also internet bookings.

Greetings Babs
As others have said Samui is not the best place. My brother has lived there seven years and loves it although he dosnt speak Thai -eat Thai or know Thai customs he gets along that says its not real Thailand- its about as real as Benidorm is to Spain IE just a western clone. Its expensive and as someone else said dirty, the taxis are a rip off so use tuktuks. I found the beach and sea very unclean and most unlike the "paradise island" advertised. I have been a few times to see my brother but would not go for a holiday. Better by far and easier to get to is CHANG with its mountains and clean sea also the islands around such as Ko wai are classed as the most beautiful and can be visited by boat for a day or more. The diving is amongst the best as well. Personally I like the small island of Ko Samet just down from Pattaya as its much more like a paradise island and has pure white sands and is very laid back but then I am over forty . PS if you do go to Samui do not try and save money by going down by train as its a nightmare and will ruin two days of your holiday getting over the journey, fly down in an hour its well worth it. And why commit yourself to 12 days on one- only book in a day or so at a time you can move easily to another and accommodation is everywhere waiting for your money also Thailand is so much more than islands its also beautiful national parks like KAO YAI (where I have lived for 4 years) just 2 hours north of Bangkok. Have a great time because Thailand is wonderful anyway.

More Information

Get travel answers from locals in Thailand

Find places to visit in Thailand